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Figuring af Maria Popova
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Figuring (original 2019; udgave 2019)

af Maria Popova (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
289670,904 (4.34)15
Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries--beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists--mostly women, mostly queer--whose public contribution have risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson. Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman--and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.… (mere)
Medlem:brokensandals
Titel:Figuring
Forfattere:Maria Popova (Forfatter)
Info:Pantheon (2019), 592 pages
Samlinger:Skal læses
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:to-read

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Figuring af Maria Popova (2019)

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Viser 1-5 af 6 (næste | vis alle)
I saw this on a bookstore shelf, and with Maria Popova of Brain Pickings as the author, and an odd geometric-looking drawing on the cover, I bought it without reading the blurb, assuming it would be a dive into some interesting corners of mathematics or science. I was completely wrong, but I'm not the least bit disappointed.

This is a remarkable, unique, multiple biography, focused on a number of women mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries, each of whom made significant contributions to science, poetry, journalism, art, and more. Many of the subjects are not well known now, although all were famous and celebrated during their lifetimes. It's interesting in that it focuses as much or more on the human relationships of each subject as it does on their contributions. Many (most, I think) of the women seem to have been lesbian, queer, or otherwise non-conformant with heteronormative expectations. Unsurprisingly, this often led to sad or even tragic outcomes.

Those leery of poetry should know that the book spends a good chunk of attention on the work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, especially her epic poem Aurora Lee, and also on the work of Emily Dickenson. It definitely revived my interest in both of those authors, neither of whom I've read in many years. ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
This book begins with an unforgettable image, that of the mathematician and astronomer, Johannes Kepler, racing through the night to rescue his mother, who was being tried for witchcraft. From there, Popova sets off on a wide-ranging look at a variety of things, from asking how it is that genius arises to examining how people negotiated lives outside of the traditional heterosexual framework in times when there wasn't even the language to speak about sexuality. At first the book seemed to be a scattershot of ideas and historical tidbits which, while interesting enough, do not make a coherent narrative. But Popova settles down into the meat of her book, a series of biographies of women, mostly living in the mid-nineteenth century, who lived extraordinary lives, far outside of the parameters allowed American women at the time.

Her subjects range from women who are now largely unknown, like Margaret Fuller and Harriet Hosmer, to household names like Emily Dickinson and Rachel Carson. Popova lets each woman's story speak for itself, but she also is primarily interested in how each woman dealt with chronic health issues and how they negotiated love and relationships, which were often found outside of what was seen as acceptable at the time they lived. Margaret Fuller's life was the most revelatory for me; I'd never heard of her, despite her having been famous in her time and a woman who was able to forge an independent path for herself. Rachel Carson's story was also particularly well-told.

I'd recommend this book for anyone who likes an author to explore side trails and ask questions as they arise, or for anyone interested in the lives of women, early feminism, women in science and in how people negotiated love lives that were not traditional and heterosexual in the nineteenth century. I felt early on that this book was too episodic, but Popova had a plan and I'm glad I stuck with it. It's a book that gets more fascinating as it goes. ( )
1 stem RidgewayGirl | Feb 6, 2021 |
Rating of 4.85 ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
Maria Popova explores the realms of science, physics, astronomy, poetry, philosophy, art and the struggle of women to be taken seriously as academics and in all fields of serious endeavour. This book is the result of years of work and thought by a polymath. Who will write her story in the future? ( )
1 stem tiggywinkle | Apr 20, 2020 |
Interesting pieces that didn’t quite come together as a whole for me. ( )
  PaulGodfread | Jan 30, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 6 (næste | vis alle)
Popova is intrigued by the convergences and contingencies of history, and she regularly calls out odd juxtapositions that evoke a sense of wonder. But you can have only so much marginalia in a book.
 
Popova’s “Figuring” is an intricate tapestry in which the lives of these women, and dozens of other scientific and literary figures, are woven together through threads of connection across four centuries, linking one to another in unexpected chains through mutual friends, serendipity, meetings, letters and even lovers. It is as if in her vast reading of source materials, especially original correspondence, she has fitted her brain with a set of filters to sift out references that might link any of her figures to any other.
 
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Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries--beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists--mostly women, mostly queer--whose public contribution have risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson. Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman--and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.

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